Item 389 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme Fund-Raising Launch

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Speech by President Nelson Mandela at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme Fund-Raising Launch


  • 1996-06-27 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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ANC Website

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Fund-Raising launch for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme

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  • English

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Minister of Education;
Members of the diplomatic corps;

Business and community leaders;

Leaders of academic institutions and student organisation;
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to this reception, and I thank you sincerely for making time in your busy schedules to be here tonight. Your presence confirms that you share the concern of our government and our people for higher education in our country.

Amongst the priorities of the new government is higher education. The National Commission on Higher Education has identified the financing of access to the higher education system as having critical importance and urgency. In its initial report to the Minister of Education a year ago, it recommended an immediate establishment of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. Tonight's fund-raising reception launches something that is indispensable in the setting up of the scheme.

Ladies and gentlemen;

Achieving our goals for reconstruction and development requires of us that we put our economy on a new footing. We need sustained growth that provides jobs for millions who are unemployed and produces resources to further improve the quality of life. All this must be attained in an economy that is now fully part of a highly competitive international market.

The imperatives, incorporated in our macroeconomic strategy, include the need to recognise that our people are our most valuable asset, and to act accordingly. Investment in people is therefore one of our key strategies for developing a vibrant and competitive economy and a society based on the principles of equity, justice and mutual respect.

The new government requires a highly trained and professional work force if it is to be an efficient, effective and accountable instrument of transformation.

The economy more than ever before, requires an upgrading and broadening of its skills-base at every level: owners and managers; executives and workers.

The vast potential of those whom apartheid excluded from business or marginalised within the economy, must be realised so that we can benefit as a nation from the contribution they can make.

In all these spheres, higher education can and will play a significant role in making a reality of the possibilities. But in order for the sector to play this role, the necessary resources must be mobilised.

Government has pledged its commitment by increasing subsidies to the sector. It has also committed itself to contributing R300 million to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme beginning in 1996.

But more is needed if the scheme is to be sustainable in the long term.

International donors have already been playing a critical role in helping us to take off in this direction. We are asking them to keep helping for a while longer. But even more importantly, especially for the long-term feasibility of the scheme, we are requesting our local businesses and communities to join hands with us in securing the future of the scheme.

Without such a partnership the scheme will falter and we shall fail many young women and men who have the potential to play a productive role in our economy and society.

This joint effort for the funding of the loan scheme is part of a wider partnership.

On the part of the higher education institutions it includes concerted action to facilitate the transformation of the system, so that it fully answers to the needs of our democratic society.

And on the part of students, whose principle activity must be that of studying, their conduct now and after their studies are completed, should be such as to vindicate the major investment that government, business and society as a whole, is making in their education.

In conclusion, may I thank you again for being here today to launch the scheme, and for your commitment to making it work.

Together, let us invest in our young people; in our higher education system; and in South Africa's future.

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 22/11/06 by Helen Joannides




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